The dysfunction in the Home Affairs Department that has been long reported on (see here, here, and here) has now been officially confirmed in a survey conducted by the Australian Public Service Commission. Continue reading
Following the Trump Administration’s shift on the legality of Israeli settlements I wrote the following article for Plus61JMedia. The Morrison Government’s silence on this issue is striking. Continue reading
We Australians have for decades now made it clear that we want a health care system that delivers quality care in a timely manner with availability based on need not personal financial wellbeing. Increasingly it is obvious to all that the system should better fund programs to prevent illness not just treat it.These are the principles we wish to see Medicare embrace and we are willing to have our tax-dollars pay for the benefits. Continue reading
The Zionist Federation of Australia bestowed in November its 2019 Jerusalem Prize for “exceptional in strengthening Australia-Israel relations” or as Prof. Stuart Rees puts it, ‘for sucking up to Israelis,’ on an exemplary recipient, the prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison. Continue reading
China. Chinese Australians are feeling the heat, whether they support China or Australia
Chinese migration to Australia has always been an essential part of Australian multicultural history. Various diasporic Chinese communities in Australia have played important roles in Australia’s political, social, cultural and economic maturations. Yet now their loyalty to Australia has been unfairly questioned. Continue reading
Myopia, loss aversion and free-rider problems undermine the provision of public goods, including global public goods like climate change mitigation. It’s easy to understand why climate policy has been a failure in Australia. But what happens when the central case of long-term projections, something outside of the bounds of what has been considered probable in the near-term, comes crashing into the present? That’s what our politicians were dealing with through 2006, following several years of drought. Eventually, entrenched positions were abandoned. Could we see this happen again? Continue reading
Last Wednesday’s release of the national accounts for the September quarter confirmed what we already knew – economic stagnation continues. Most importantly, it is hard to see why the economy will ever improve under present policies. Instead we need a new and different economic strategy. Continue reading
As homes and communities go up in flames, Australian politics descends into new depths of silly-season absurdity. Enough is enough. It is time for Australia’s leaders to face up to the nation’s greatest security threat. Continue reading
Minister Coleman has at last allowed the 2018-19 Migration Program report to be published in early December. These are usually finalised each July. Two highlights: (1) the Partner visa application pipeline has reached almost 90,000 and is certain to grow much further in 2019-20; and (2) the backlog of employer sponsored visa applications is falling fast and will require Coleman to back-track on the ham-fisted changes to these visas made by Peter Dutton. Continue reading
The holy city’s name focuses the universal longing for peace: the hope, indeed the expectation that diversity and difference do not need to issue in animosity, injustice and violence, but in mutuality, enrichment from the other’s difference. It is associated with blessing from Melchizedek the mysterious the King of Salem to Abraham, ancestor, founder and prophet shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city is sacred to all three. Continue reading
Human rights are usually associated with those in the Universal Declaration, like free speech and freedom of assembly, but there are actually two opposing narratives of human rights, both having their origins at about the same time just after WWII. The second narrative, seemingly very powerful, is a right to be as wealthy as possible without government interference. Continue reading
With this year’s climate change Conference of the Parties (COP) getting underway this week in Madrid, the articles this week focus on climate change: the future of coal and renewables in China, problems with projects funded by rich nations in developing countries, climate tipping points, responses to climate deniers’ arguments, and counting and reducing emissions from industrial processes.
A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media Continue reading
China. Developing Its Border Relations
The twin concerns in Australia about the People’s Republic of China (PRC), relating to increased economic dependency and tensions over politico/security policy, are common throughout the Asia Pacific region. Continue reading
When should a minister ‘stand aside’ (that is, be stood aside); when should a minister resign (be sacked)? Prime Minister Morrison has provided his answer in the case of Angus Taylor, his Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Not now. But not ever? – we will see.
Was it surprising to hear AUSTRAC’s allegations that Westpac breached money-laundering laws 23 million times? When the LNP won government in May 2019, bankers cheered reinstalled Ministers, delighted that the Royal Commission’s February recommendations were unlikely to be fully implemented. Conditions were in place, then, with the unfolding script already tattered. Less discussed was the meaning of “money laundering”. Continue reading
The Australian right wing seem to be embarking on another cultural crusade – this time against what is probably the best weekly news magazine (which the editors insist on calling a newspaper) in the world, The Economist.
Last month an Amnesty International report took Google and Facebook to task for their ‘surveillance-based business model’ that is ‘predicated on human rights abuse’. Back in 2006, I recall a colleague telling me about Google’s ‘do no evil’ manifesto. I wanted to believe it and used many of its free and paid services. Until last week. I finally decided to act after Google bought Fitbit and I realised they would own my health and fitness data from the past four years and would integrate that with everything else they know about me. Continue reading
The wheels are falling off the Government as Parliament winds down for Christmas. Both Coalition Government and Labor Opposition should consider a comment made by Pauline Hanson, who has asserted her authority with a sorely needed dose of common sense. Continue reading
How Chinese National Identity Impacts Relations with Australia.
What is most striking about Chinese national identity is its stability in the pre-modern past and its fluidity in the modern era. Its dramatic transformation since the mid-19th century is part of China’s tumultuous socio-political change under the impact of traumatic encounters with foreign powers. Continue reading
The last thirty years have seen a massive sale of government business enterprises, which, on privatisation, have set prices in line with corporate profit-maximisation. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the consequent allocation of resources is probably less efficient than would have been the case had governments retained ownership and control over prices. Continue reading
It’s PISA time again and Australia’s student achievement levels continue to be miserable. The finger-pointing is in full swing…again. Someone should re-shoot ‘Groundhog Day’ around the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), with a cast of education ministers, their shadows, a teacher unionist, journalists, the odd academic and crowd shots of everyone else with an opinion. It would be an easy script to learn – it has remained unchanged for well over a decade. Continue reading
The West’s modern sensibility is rightly offended by the scale of Uighur incarcerations in Xinjiang the and the ruthlessness with which the Chinese government is pursuing the extermination of Uighur culture, language, and religion. To the contemporary mind these acts are repugnant. This notwithstanding, the darker episodes in European and American history nonetheless should be kept in mind when crafting condemnations of China. Continue reading
Hundreds of ancient Brush Box and other rainforest trees, many over a thousand years old, have been felled in the head of Terania Creek, their bases eaten out by fire. While the community stepped up to stop the loggers 40 years ago, this time nothing could stop the assault initiated by human-induced climate change. Continue reading
Recently I was talking to a political insider in Canberra who told me he’d heard on numerous occasions at dinner parties that tragically the Great Barrier Reef is dead. Continue reading
Kellie Merritt first met Bernard Collaery in mid-2005. She had not long returned from England, with three young children, recently widowed from the war in Iraq. She was still in shock and anxious about returning to attend a coronial inquest into the circumstances of the shooting down of an RAF aircraft, her husband was flying in. Bernard flipped through the pages of a dense, extensively redacted folder she couldn’t make sense of. He put it aside and looking at her 2yr old he said, “I have a lot in common with your daughter, and I’m going to help you. I grew up not knowing my dad, my mum was a war widow, he was killed in action, flying an RAF plane, it was also shot down, its design diminished survivability too, and he was brave…” Continue reading
What, why and how China
Spying. Lobbying. Corruption. Debt trap diplomacy. It seems Australia’s relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have sunk to an all-time low. It is therefore all the more important to understand that country. Criticisms of its present government and of the Chinese Communist Party are often justified but not when they are based on flimsy evidence, supposition and innuendo. This is no basis for a serious relationship, which Australia certainly needs. Continue reading